Commonplace Book, 18

What is a commonplace book? For me, this is a space where I post interesting links, reflections on what I’m reading, and the newest recipes I’ve been trying out — a collection of miscellaneous micro-posts.

What I’m fixing:

Basic Cottage Pie Template


  • 1 lb ground beef or lamb (if lamb, then congrats, it’s shepherd’s pie)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 c beef stock
  • about four peeled potatoes (+cream, milk, butter, shredded cheese or whatever you put in your mashed potatoes)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • carrots/parsnips/etc., chopped
  • frozen peas (+corn if you’re gross)


When I’m on top of my game, I break this up over the course of a day or two, or else it’s a long process. Roast your chopped vegetables (onions + root veg), or boil the root vegetables in stock. Preheat oven to 400. Sauté your onion and cook your ground meat in a skillet. Make mashed potatoes in a third pot. When the onion and meat are brown, add herbs + roots + flour + broth + tomato paste and cook till thick (about 15 minutes). Mash your potatoes, spread on top of the meat mixture in either the skillet or an oven-safe dish. Add cheddar cheese if you’re cool. Bake till browned and cheese is melted.

I feel like I’m explaining this poorly. There’s kind of a lot going on, but it’s pretty intuitive.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can take these ingredients and follow this recipe as a template to make it in the slow cooker. Still pretty good.

What I’m reading:

  • I FINISHED BROTHERS K. NO ONE CARES. Otherwise, I’m reading the same stuff as last week, and enjoying it markedly more now that Alyosha & Co. aren’t looming over me all the time.
  • Endangered American Slang Needs Your Help“: Who knew I’d ever come across the DARE outside of reference class in library school? Let it be known that I claim whistle pig. (h/t: Prufrock)
  • Pippin’s godmother showed me this just when I needed it: How We Can Reclaim the Awesomeness of Motherhood From a Culture that Thinks It’s Awful. This is a struggle for me, to strike a balance between gratitude and transparency. Does my blog do that? I hope so. I am so grateful for my beautiful, sweet, merry little children, and so often tired or frustrated. I hope I have more, and sometimes I wonder how I will possibly survive more. I need to remind myself:

“Parenting is hard, for sure; but the difficulties don’t have to be dreaded. The point of parenting is to teach other, smaller, people how to live well and be happy. We cannot teach what we, ourselves, don’t know—so if we aren’t happy doing it, then we’ve got it all wrong.”

My Halloween baby is way into fall spirit, yes he is.

2 thoughts on “Commonplace Book, 18

  1. Love that verily article. Language used about parenthood matters so much. And for the record, I think your blog definitely gets the fine line between gratitude and transparency right.

    Also, thanks for reminding me about cottage pie. I’ve been craving comfort food like crazy lately.


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